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PBS News Hour

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

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U.s. 17, Hagel 11, South Africa 8, Chuck Hagel 7, Oscar Pistorius 6, Us 6, Messer 6, Pentagon 5, Harry Reid 5, Collins 5, Johnson 5, Washington 5, Sinema 4, Oscar 4, Israel 4, Benghazi 4, Brown 4, Michael Beschloss 4, Obama 3, Catherine Robb 3,
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  PBS    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff,  
   Jeffrey Brown.  (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    February 14, 2013
    10:00 - 11:00pm PST  

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, we look at what the $11 billion deal means for the industry and for stock holders and for travelers. >> i'm a little worried that some of the flight routes are going to be canceled, they're going to change those up and we may lose some options as consumers but at the end of the day airlines have to make money. >> brown: then, we turn to the troubled nomination of chuck hagel, president obama's choice to be secretary of defense, as republicans temporarily block a vote in the senate. >> woodruff: we talk to four new members of the house of representatives about the president's state of the union address, the stalemate in
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washington and more. >> brown: ray suarez gets an update on the south african olympic athlete known as blade runner charged today with murdering his girlfriend. >> woodruff: and we close on this valentine's day with love letters from president lyndon johnson to bride to be-- lady bird. >> reading them i thought, these are beautiful, these are wonderful. that's exactly sort of thing that we all would like to receive. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science,echnology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brn: o major airlines announced a marriage of sorts, on this valentine's day. their combination means the field of major u.s. carriers will shrink by one. these jetliners-- sporting shiny new paint jobs-- are among the roughly 900 planes in the american airlines fleet and they're about to be joined by
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the 622 planes currently flying for u.s. airways. the price tag for the deal: $11 billion. creditors of american's bankrupt parent company a.m.r. will own 72% of the combined airline. the merger affects some 187 million passengers who fly the two airlines annually. >> i grew up on u.s. airways. >> brown: as well as more than 100,000 employees. >> our best goal going forward is to make it the biggest, strongest airline in the country, and i suppose that's about to happen. >> brown: the combined company will keep the american name and headquarters in fort worth, texas. but it is u.s. airways c.e.o. doug parker who will run it.
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his counterpart-- tom horton at american-- will serve as chairman, but bow out after the transition the two are friends who started their careers together at american three decades ago. >> to run a new airline you need to have one leader and only one leader that the rest of the airline sees. and tom was nice enough to agree to hang around and help me with that transition but then also cared enough about american to know that once that transition happens, the company needs to see one leader and was confident enough in me to let me do that which i'm elated to do. >> and don't mess it up. >> brown: american airlines-- founded in 1930-- has always touted itself as a company of firsts. >> american had already put stewardesses on the plane, even food and then the radio. and their firsts soon became a tradition in the business. from t first sleeper planes to the first living room size lounge. >> brown: now, the new american
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stands to become the world's largest carrier if federal regulators and a.m.r.'s bankruptcy judge approve the deal. as little as five years ago, there were six major u.s. carriers. then, delta merged with northwest and united with continental. with this latest deal, there will be four major u.s. airlines left, including southwest. but for many air travelers today, one question was uppermost: does this merger mean fares will go up? the c.e.o. of the combined new company says no. >> this really is about taking two airlines and putting them together and providing better service to customers. it also, i would note creates a nice third competitor to the two larger airlines, so our view is it increases competition doesn't >> brown: the time line has the merger closing in the third quarter of the year, but it will take several years before the two airlines are fully integrated. for a closer look at the merger, we turn to holly hegeman, an airline industry analyst and founder of "plane business banter," a weekly industry news
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publication. and charlie leocha, director of the consumer travel alliance, a passenger advocacy group. he's also a member of an advisory committee on aviation consumer protections for the department of transportation. holly hegeman, let me start with you. was this an act of survival for american airlines? why are these two coming together? >> well, i think reason they're coming sergeant to because it makes financial sense. i think we have seen -- all you have to do is look at delta airlines, for example, and their merger with northwest to see the difference that has made. delta airlines, now, is one heck of a competitor, is running an excellent financial operation it has changed considerably from what it was just five years ago and that change would not have been possible without the merger with northwest. so essentially what's happening is the same thing that's happened with united and
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continental. u.s. airways saw value in american airlines, they also wanted to try to do this in bankruptcy because it gives a lot of advantages and so it's just like the natural order of things in this industry and i think it's a positive. >> brown: charlie leocha, that goes to the analysis i've been reading that this industry, these mergers are needed almost to stabilize the industry. how do you see what's happening? >> well, that's been the excuse for a long time and we keep doing the same thing, we keep having airlines go into bankruptcy so it's not stabilizing so well. something isn't quite going right. i think that when you keep cutting down the number of airlines you're eliminating copetition. nd wn you eliminate competition the prices are going to rise. right now the airlines have the ability to use what they call their own -- to hold their capacity lower and they're very, very try dand at doing that. and that's a form of competition because they're not competing
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with each other. they're not competing in terms of capacity so that's one of the big differences. this airline has no benefits for consumers it only rearrange it is chairs on the deck of the ship. >> brown: that's n wh the c.e.o. said. let me ask holly hegeman. do you see benefits for consumers or impact on consumers. what we heard from the c.e.o. was there's not a whole lot of overlap between these two companies. >> i disagree strongly. i think that this is a positive for consumers and, again, i would look at delta airlines as a prime example i think if you talk to passengers that fly delta today, if you look at the mundell a has been able to put into infrastructure upgrades, for example, in new yo none of that have would have been possible except -- or unless the airline made money and when he talks about capacity being a form of competition i would say that reducing capacity is a way
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that the airlines can be financially solvent and the more financially solvent they are that means it's better for the consumer, not worse. >> brown: mr. leocha? >> if we're speaking strictly about financial solvency this merger has no reason to even happen. u.s. airways just finished raking in the mstprofs in their history in this last year. american airlines has justñi goe through a bankruptcy process. they finally have gotten control of their labor issues and they have more new planes on order than any other airline. they've got literally billions of dollars in the bank. they could come out of bankruptcy with no problem. but they decided they want to get together with u.s. air. and this is u.s. air pushing this whole merger idea and i just don't see what the benefits are to consumers other than saying oh, it's better to have a big airline and have more
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financial stability. there's no new routes, there's no new frequent flier benefits. there's no increased competition anywhere. >> brown: well, the argument is there's a stronger airline, i guess. right? is that what it is, ms. hegeman? and also while you respond to that, what about the impact on employees? are you expecting to see anything there? >> well, first of all, i have to disagree with the comment about the unon situation. if anything, this merger was a land narc this industry. we have never before seen the major unions at an airline align themselves with the management of another airline and basically say we don't want to work for the current management anymore. this merger was a lot more complicated than we've just described and, in fact, it was the employees of american who pushed for the merger and kept pushing for theñi merger. they did not want american to
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come out as a stand-alone and they did not want to continue working with the current management team. so that's a little different. as far as the advantages, there will be a lot of advantages. for one thing, the american -- folks that fly american now will have access to a lot more destinations internationally. people don't understand that u.s. airways does fly internationally and theyçwill add to the options that american flyers currently have. for u.s. airways customers, it's the same thing. currently on the east coast, for example, americanas little feed, as we call it, in the business on the east coast. this merger with u.s. airways will give them that much needed feed and will make the airline that much bigger. >> brown: let me stay with you informationly. what does happen to frequent flier programs that are so important to so many people? >> nothing. i mean, for right now -- of course, we're talking about a time frame that's going to be stretched out. nothing is going toñiñi change
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tomorrow. the deal willñi probably not cle until the third quarter of this year and until then both airlines will continue to operate separately. as far as frequent flier miles are concerned, nobody is going to lose their frequent flier miles. they're not going to go away. there will be a new program that will combine both programs and everybody will have their miles intact. >> brown: mr. leocha, it does have to go through a bankruptcy judge, it does have to go through certain regulatory -- is there any possibility they will hear your argument and block it? >> well, i don't know if they're going to hear my argument but let's step back to the benefits to the passengers every benefit that w menoned is for american airlines and u.s. airways passengers is a benefit taken away from american airlines with united airlines. they used to have co-chairs, they still do. they have joint frequent flier benefits and so on. so they're giving with one hand and taking away with the other. and i do expect this merger to
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go through but i'm hoping that congress and the d.o.t. will allow us to get some things like airline fees disclosed so that consumers can actually compare prices across airlines and have more competition there. >> brown: all right, charlie loka, holly hegeman, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": the hold up on the hagel nomination; four freshmen on capitol hill an olympic star charged with murder. and a president's love story. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: senate democrats moved today to find a way to prevent the sequester-- across- the-board spending cuts, set to take effect march first. they called for smaller reductions in farm subsidies and the pentagon budget, plus a minimum 30% tax on million- dollar incomes. republicans are expected to oppose the measure because of the tax increase. house speaker john boehner said the burden is on president obama to break the deadlock. >> the sequester, i don't like
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it and no one should like it, but the sequester is there because the president insisted that it be there. where is the president's plan to replace the sequester that he insisted upon? >> sreenivasan: white house officials warned that letting the across-the-board cuts take effect would be disastrous. for his part, the president traveled to decatur, georgia, selling his plan to make pre- school available to all four- year-olds. standing before a group of teachers, he joked that what works with pre-schoolers might work with congress. >> maybe we need to bring the teachers up... ( laughter ) you know, every once in a while have some quiet time. time out. ( laughter ) >> sreenivasan: if the sequester takes effect, it will mean $85 billion in spending reductions over the next seven months shared equally between defense and domestic programs. new jersey senator frank lautenberg announced today he will not rungain. the veteran democrat is 89, and the oldest member of the senate. he faced a likely primary
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challenge from newark mayor cory booker. lautenberg said he'll spend the final two years of his term trying to pass new gun safety laws, among other things. u.n. inspectors have failed again to gain greater access to iran's nuclear sites. a team from the international atomic energy agency returned home empty-handed today, after talks in tehran. meanwhile, iran announced it's installing a new generation of centrifuges to enrich uranium. and, "the washington post" reported iran triea year ago to buy 100,000 specialized magnets for centrifuges. the u.s. and other nations say iran means to build nuclear weapons. the iranians say their program is for power generation. around the world today, people rallied to raise awareness of violence against women. the "one billion rising" campaign staged rallies, dances and vigils in dozens of major cities. the events were held to coincide with valentine's day. the united nations has estimated that one of every three women worldwide, is raped or beaten in the course of a lifetime.
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a long-time leader in american a new implantable device that restores some vision in the blind won approval today in the united states. the food and drug administration agreed to allow use of the argus 2 retinal prosthesis. it uses electrodes in the retina that receives signals from a wireless camera on a pair of glasses. initially the device will help small numbers, but it may ultimately treat vision disorders in millions. a long-time leader in american foods-- heinz is being sold to a group that includes warren buffett. the $23.3 billion deal announced today will make heinz a privately held company. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average lost nine points to close at 13,973. the nasdaq rose a point to close at 3,198. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: there were more hurdles today for president obama's secretary of defense nominee. late this afternoon, senate consideration of his appointment was delayed on a procedural vote of 58 to 40. at this point, the senate won't
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vote on him again until february 26 at the earliest. margaret warner has the story. >> there has never in the history of the country been a filibuster of a defense secretary nominee, never. >> warner: senate majority leader harry reid went to the senate floor this morning and blasted republicans for blocking a vote on chuck hagel, for the pentagon's top job. >> this isn't high school getting ready for a football game or some play that's being produced in high school. this is, we're trying to confirm somebody to run the defenses of our country. >> warner: democrats hold a 55 to 45 edge in the senate, but it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster so five republicans would have had to break ranks to make that happen. but partisan divisions were on display tuesday, as the armed services committee approved the hagel nomination on a straight party-line vote-- 14 to 11.
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that followed a contentious hearing in january, as hagel's former republican colleagues attacked him on several fronts, including his criticism of the u.s. troop surge in iraq. >> were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam? were you correct or incorrect, yes or no? >> well, i'm not going to give you a yes or no answer on a lot >> warner: on sunday, republican senator lindsey graham said he would put a hold on hagel and on john brennan's nomination as c.i.a. director, until he gets more answers from the white house about the september attack in benghazi, libya. in stament today, whe house spokesman josh earnest reaffirmed president obama's support for hagel. and said:
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late today, reid forced a vote on breaking the fillibuster. the current defense secretary leon panetta who'd been due to leave his post today has said he will stay on until his successor is confirmed. and, at a ceremony honoring for and late today the president said it was unfortunate to have politics intrude while he's still presiding over a war in afghanistan. to help us understand the implications, the politics and what's next, we turn to pentagon reporter mark thompson of "time" magazine. and todd zwillich of public radio international's "the takeaway." welcome back, gentlemen, todd, begin with you. decode for us what happened today. i mean, the republicans told harry reid they had the votes to block the nomination-- block consideration of the nomination, yet he forcedt to a votein the amp anyway. why? >> he did. well, there are different imperatives floating around all
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cornerings of this vote, as there often are in the senate. opposition to senator hagel has mounted before he was even named and almost all of that opposition except for token opposition came from within his own party. building up today-to-today it was a question of would republicans require 60 votes to move forward with this nomination? not unprecedented for a cabinet nominee but harry reid was right it is unprecedented for a secretary of defense, for any national security nominee at the top level for that matter. asit got clor to the vote, then, the question became would democrats be able to peel five republicans to get to 60 and if not are republicans going to stick by their guns and make this a real filibuster? meaning we're going to withhold 60 votes, we're not going to let five of our people go and we'll try to make sure that chuck hagel goes down. as the morning into the afternoon progressed, more and more republicans-- including john mccain and lindsey graham-- were coming out of a meeting with republicans saying "we're satisfied in the case of john mccain and graham, request the
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answers we gotbou behazi from the white house. we're satisfied now. but we don't think other senators have had enough time. they're not on the arms services commit tee so we'll vote to hold this up now, when we come back in ten days we'll vote yes. it's not blocking, we just want to slow down." >> warner: what were the motivations? you had reid taking it to a vote where it was predicted he would lose and republicans said yeah we'll vote for it in another ten days but not now. what are the politics here? >> on the republican side, the politics have shifted from the center of the threeamigos on national security, jindsy graham john mccain and senator kelly ayotte from new hampshire. it's shifted away from them. they had questions about benghazi which had been a major political issue since before the election. those seem to be moving off the table now. there are senators on the right who are asking questions about chuck hagel's speeches over the years. what did he say in these speechs? did he give more incendiary statements ant israel, about the
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jewish lobby in israel controlling the state department statements preferable to iran. on the democratic side, why did harry reid go ahead with the vote when he didn't have to? harry reid and democrats get to spend the next ten days saying that republicans are mounting unprecedented filibusters against the secretary of defense, that they are rolling hand grenades into the senate and they won't cooperate with barack obama. is. >> warner: helps them make that point. mark, how does this look over tent gone to the folks are talking to you there there? >> it lookser the to believe people overseas. inside the pentagon they are consumed right now with the sequester. the looming $500 billionnd budget cuts. they don't need this monkey wrench thrown into the works. hagel has support in the pentagon but there's leeriness, he didn't do very well in his confirmation hearing and there is blood in the water and the they're moving inñi for the kil. basically i think what's happening and what happened today is the sense that this is
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another ten days for drips, drips, drips that could send his nomination into a tail spin. but basically the military's professional. ash carter, the deputy, is a great guy. secretary panetta, who spent time this afternoon at section 60 of arlington national cemetery, was hoping to say good-bye to some ofxd the young men and women who died in afghanistan and iraq and then those monterey for keeps will be coming back and going to brussels next week. >> warner: for the nato ministers meeting. you said there was some leeriness in the pentagon aboutó hagel and what kind of a defense secretary he is. based on what? >> based on the fact he's never run anything very large. this is a very big place. now, for those of who who have been at the building for a while you look back and say boy, thatless aspin, that chairman of the house arms services committee, i bet he'll be a great defense secretary. and he wasn't. conversely, people said dick cheney? that fellow never served in thei military! he can't be defense secretary.
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but by most accounts people think he did a good job. so it's very difficult to answer mate how -- what kind of job someone will do before they get there. >> warner: is there also concern -- there's been some columns about this, from walter pincus at the "washington post" that his performance at the hearing made them wonder about -- made men and women in uniform wonder how tough he'd be with whether it's adversaries or people on the hill or counterparts overseas. >> i talked to friends of hagel's who are surprised by the way the hearing unfolded.ñrñr that's not the hagel they know and i think it truly was a warning shot across his bow. the next time he has an opportunity-- assuming he gets an opportunity-- to take somebody on, he's going to take them on. the. >> warner: do you see it as mark does that the opponents of hagel on the republican side are hoping that in this ten days that there may be more -- a teddy drip-drip, that they still have in their sights trying to defeat him?
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>> there is an understanding on capitol hill that the next ten days will be for the real staunch conservative opponents of chuck hagel to go through those speeches that i mentioned. go through some of his past statements. there were more videos coming out to look for more incendiary statements. so far chuck hagel saying less than nice things about the government or israel or the influence of israel on our diplomats. those are things that people in washington do not like to hear but they are not new. as lindsey graham said a couple times today, unless there's a bombshell over the next ten days i'll vote to go ahead with this nomination and hagel will get through. so then the question is who's going to look for the bombshell. >> warner: these people are professionals but the pentagon is facing huge budget cuts already. they're facing the potential of the sequestration and another $40 billion in cuts h. what to do about the iranian nuclear
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program. es this -- this uncertainty at all affect the buildings ability not just make plans but weigh in on the policy choices? >> sure it does. you want a secretary of defense when you're at war and have other issues hanging over your head. no good can come from this ambiguity. >> warner: mark thompson, todd swill lick, thank you. >> woodruff: immigration. climate change. gun control. the budget. these are just a few of the issues president obama called on congress to address tuesday night in his state of the union address. how do some of the newest faces in the 113th congress view their job and the president's priorities? we ask four freshman lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. texas democrat joaquin castro serves on the house armed former democratic state senator kyrsten sinema represents the
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phoenix suburbs in arizona. former state lawmaker luke meer was head of the indiana republican party. welcome to all four of you. congressman collins, i'm going to begin with you. the president's state of the union address, his message, what do you think you can work with him on? what did you hear? >> well, i think we can agree on the point that what we want to see in this economy is a growing vibrant economy. and that's for all levels. i think when we work on that and begin to focus onthe ings that matter-- and that's job creation-- getting the ability for the free enterprise system to work, i'll take the president at his word that he wants a strong and robust economy. i think differences will come in if implementation of that but i agree. we can work together on building the economy i believe americans deserve. >> woodruff: congresswoman sineman, what about you?
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what did you hear from the president that lifted your spirits and that you think you can work with him on? >> the thing that was most exciting for us was the president's comments on mortgages. the president's comments about helping middle-class families getting refinance options, that will help middle-class families struggling to do what's right, keep their homes and jobs. it will help them a lot. ruch rough congressman messer, what about you? >> i appreciated his focus on jobs. i was disappointed by his lack of specifics on spending. i believe those are the elements in the room for our country and we need leadership on those topics. >>oodrff: congressman castro, did that bother you that the president was not more specific about what cuts he's prepared to make? >> no, i think he's been talking about a balanced approach for a long time and we know that he's committed to doing both, to raising revenue and making cuts
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but he's said before he's not going to negotiate with himself. the republican party has been pushing these cuts for a long time. congressman collins, let me come back to you. you said you liked what the president had to say about the focus on the middle-class. it does look at though the two parties have having a hard time working together. do you think you can make a difference in that? >> i believe we can. the interesting thing, judy, is this. i'm glad he spoke about the economy. i'm also disappointed like congressman messer that there was not a lot of specifics and republicans have presented plans. in fact, they've sent plans over from the last congress. none of them have been acted on. i think if you want to be specific about the state of the union, i was more disappointed abou what was not said. there was pomp and circumstance but we heard nothing about specifics and economics we heard
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nothing about benghazi. there were things we didn't hear about in this speech that i think were disappointing from my perspective. >> woodruff: benghazi. why should the president have talked about that? >> when you end speech the way he did and concerning guns and the terrible, horrific things that have happened in our country by some sick and twisted individuals but yet you do not mention the fact that we lost an ambassador and three others in benghazi in one of our embassies and not even from the sense of saying we're continuing the process of strengthening ou embassies and looking at it around the world. to me it was a glaring omission and something when you look at the non-specifics and then a lot of the campaign rhetoric of the rest of the speech, that was concerning to me about what was not said. >> woodruff: congresswoman zinn that, what about that? -- sinema, should the president have gone into more detail about sfwhez. >> usually the state of the union address is the president's vision of the future for the next year. so i think the president addressed a variety of topics.
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it's the president laying out a vision for what he or she wants in the next year. the president did that this week and while we may not agree with everything he said i think there was enough agreement the republicans and democrats in congress can find common ground and move forward on a variety of proposals. >> woodruff: congressman messer, on that point about finding common ground, i know you two republicans were elected in districts that have been pretty significantly conservative in the past. the democrat district perhaps more mixed, certainly in the case of congresswoman sinema. but when you've come to congress do you think of yourself as representing those folks who voted for you? or all the folks in your district? >> you make a good point. you represent everybody. you take the oath of office, it's a vow to protect and defend constitution. it doesn't say anything about party and i think the key to common ground here is to remember why we're here. i'm not for balanced budgets because it's our math home work
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or i want to make sure we do our arithmetic, i'm for balanced budgets and a growing economy because it impacts real people and their very real lives. over the last four years far too many parents have had to come home and tell their family they've lost their job. far too many young people have had to come home and tell their parents they can't find a job and far too many seniors have had to worry about whether they'll have the protections that come with social security and medicare a healthy program there. i think if we stay focused on those real problems we can find common ground. one of the great things about being a freshman is we've not been here before. people can talk about you don't have experience, but we've not been a part of those problems. i think we have an opportunity to be part of the solution. >> woodruff: what about the points he just made and this notion of whether you all are representing the constituents in your district or the folks who voted for you. >> there's no question whether you're a democrat or republican once you're elected, you're elected to represent everyone.
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what we've got to get past as freshman and the next few years as a congress is this repeated use of hostage politics that has been very disruptive but most fundamentay and importantly disruptive to our economy. if we can get past the hostage politics as the president said, the manufactured crises i believe the economy is on its way back and we will see brighter days ahead. >> woodruff: what do you mean by hostage politics? >> well, you see the republican party every time the debt ceiling comes up trying to leverage that, making sure the president can't pass anything else, that we don't get past that debate unless they get their way i think the american people want us to get past that. the debt is very important but you can't have the same fight that's disruptive every six months. >> woodruff: congressman collins how do you see that? >> i think what we've got to do is look -- of course we
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represent everyone. in our districts and everyone in our state but more importantly everyone in our country. what we have to understand is we fight for the principles we ran on, we fight for the principles we believe in this country from an economic standpoint make us great. what we've got to understand here is many times these issues that divide us also can bring us together but it's not going to be one from bringing up the same old thing and to respond to the point of republicans, it's also been a theme of the democratic party as well to go back to taxing certain classes of people and that was another thing expressed the other night and very much of a class politics on who are we going to tax and who should be paying more or a balanced approach is to get it to one or the other and a remind this president signed the upcoming legislation on sequester and the deal we're dealing with, these are things that will be real issuesut i think we can have conversations about it but we never forget how these came agent.
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>> woodruff: congresswoman sinema, just throng the four of you and your other colleagues new members of congress, do you think the two parties will work together more? >> i do. just earlier today i was proud to be part of a bipartisan freshman group. we had a handful of republicans and democrats togethering from the freshman group. we put out a letter that we delivered to the white house to speaker boehner and to leader pelosi. what we've specifically said, we're tire of the politics that kicks the can down the road. we're ready for a big grand compromise. we're ready to work together and we believe that our constituents from every district in this country sent us here to get things done and solve problems i'm proud to be part of that bipartisan group and it's a novel idea to have a freshman group do something so bold so early and i'm very excited about the prospects of coming together and finding solutions without partisan ideology and the bickering people are so tired of
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hearing from from washington. >> woodruff: congressman messer, do you think that's possible? we're watching the senate very divided along partisan lines over the nomination of former senator hagel to the defense secretary. do you feel as a freshman that the two parties will be able to work together and break through some of the logjam? >> well, i do think there's an opportunity to do that. i signed the same letter that was referenced there because i believe it's important that we work together this is a unique moment in american history because over the course of the last two election cycles about 150 members of congress have come into th boso it's not just this freshman class of 850 plus it's last year's class, too. i think the if we stay focused on what really matters which is, again, the fact that we have to have a growing economy so that it creates jobs for the very real people who are challenged in their own life now because they don't have a job we can get there. there are going to be matters of
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disagreement. i heard earlier discussion about where we are on -- and the need for further tax increases. i believe we had those tax increases in the midnight tax increases at happened just a few weeks ago but we can work through these problems if we stay focused on what matters as real people and not talking points. >> woodruff: i want to ask all four of you how comfortable you would be. congressman castro, i'll start with you. very quickly, voting against your own -- the majority in your own party. do you feel comfortable taking a stand on your own. congressman kas slow in >> sure. i think given the right issue i think both leader pelosi and whip hoyer understand that at base you've got to represent your own district. sure. >> woodruff: congresswoman sinema, what about you? >> well, you know, my record-- although i've only been here for a few weeks-- already shows that's the kind of person i am and that's how i was when i served in the state legislature. i've already crossed party lines to vote in a bipartisan way on
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several occasions in the few weeks i've been here. >> woodruff: congressman collins what about you? do you feel comfortable voting in another direction from what where the majority of the republican party is going? >> i do feel comfortable and i made a promise on the campaign trail that said that when i believed that leadershipas right i'd vote with them and when i believed that we needed another direction i would not and that was present in my vote recently, although i felt leadership was going in a direction they felt right for my district and my -- as congressman castro said i voted against the no budget no pay. it was something from my district we have to look first at our districts. >> woodruff: congressman messer, same thing. would you be comfortable voting against the republican majority? >> absolutely. you put your country first. >> woodruff: well, we hear you all four and thank you very much for joing us. congressman messer, congressman collins, congresswoman sinema, congressman castro, thank you all. >> thank you. >> thank you, >> thanks.
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>> brown: next, to a story that shocked many in south africa and around the world: the first-ever double amputee athlete to compete in the olympic games is in police custody tonight. we begin with a report from rohit kachroo of "independent television news" in pretoria. >> the home of oscar pistorius, where he's accused of murdering his girlfriend this morning. high walls, electric fences and police cars. his luxury villa now a murder scene. in a country with countless national icons,s bytorus earned a place amongst them and with his new girlfriend, a model and law graduate, his image became even more marketable. their relationship captured by glossy magazines. but at sunrise today he was pictured once again, this time wearing a hoodie as he was led from his home under arrest. then glimpsed again briefly as
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he was taken to a police station to spend the night inside a cell a man who spent months promoting his image was concealing it tonight. police were not obliged to reveal any details but chose to reveal past allegations of domestic violence. >> i can confirm there have previously been previous incidents at the home of oscar pistorius. i won't elaborate on that, there have previously been incidents. >> of violence? >> of allegations of domestic nature. >> reporter: his lawyers rushed to his side and were asked about his state of mind. >> he's very well, obviously he motional but he's fine. >> reporter: tonight his father spoke to south african radio. >> i don't know no knowing. to speak to the police will be the best. he's sad at the moment.
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>> reporter: oscar pis stores you has spoken before about how highly he prizes his safety. not only does he live here in one of the most secure communities in pretoria but he says he sleeps with a pistol next to his bed and machine machine gun close to the window. officers left the home with details still emerging and a nation shocked that such accusations could be made about their heroes. >> suarez: i'm joined by mark sokolove-- a writer who spent time with the runner in south africa for a 2012 feature for the "new york times" magazine. michael, unlike most people on the planet, you've actually spent a lot of time with oscar pistorius. when you got the news this morning what did you think? >> well, first of all i was shocked and i was sad because like most people who have run across oscar, who have met oscar i like oscar very much. like millions of people, i
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admire oscar for what he's done so this is foremost a terrible tragedy for the young woman who has died. it's a tragedy for oscar and it's a tragedy for millions of people who look up to him. >> suarez: in your story you call him blessed with an uncommon temperament and elsewhere called him "hell-bent." what what who what's he like? >> he is an adrenaline junkie. he's a guy who drives his cars at 150 miles per hour. and these are not normal cars you can buy in a dealership. these are really race cars. he drives a speedboat. he injured himself on a speedboat. he keeps exotic pets that most people would find dangerous. so he is a man who is addicted and loves speed and if i had any worry for him it was that he was
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going to hurt himself. there was really nothing in his manner, nothing that i could ascertain in my time with him that made him think that he was going to hurt someone else. >> suarez: but notably you did write some about his affection for guns and the fact that he was handy th them. >> yes. for sure. oscar liked his guns. oscar felt under threat. and south africa is a place that apartheid is over but there's a terrible chasm between rich and poor, income inequality. and people with money, people with houses, end to live behind walls, behind barbed wire, behind gates with guns. and this is not a pretty thing. it is somewhat understandable thing but i think that oscar's paranoia, if that's what it was, was not uncommon to his class in
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south africa. >> suarez: so apart from the celebrity of both oscar pistorius and reeva steenkamp this is not all that unusual. a lot of people die by firearms in south africa, don't they? >> that i believe they do and i think that perhaps even more th our own violent society and our own gun-soaked society south africa society is on a hair-trigger and i think it's fair to say -- we don't know, first of all, what happened in this incident. i don't know what happened in this incident. it's very tough to do police reporting from here and know what's going on in south africa. but i do think it's fair to say that oscar was on high alert. oscar was on a hair-trigger. oscar had a certain paranoia about who might be coming into his house. if that is a part of what happened in this incident i don't know.
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but it wouldn't surprise me. >> suarez: i was trying to think of what an equivalent sort of experience in the united states might be. this is a person who's huge in south africa, oscar pistorius and now he's behind bars. i couldn't even think of an american equivalent, can you? >> yes, i can think of some. certainly o.j. simpson who -- it'sard remember now because o.j. is short hand for something else but i remember when o.j. was a revered athlete and then went on to commercials and he ran through airports and he was a great looking guy and he seemed like a great guy and everyone loved o.j.. i think there is some comparison and this is not something you ever saw coming from oscar pistorius. i certainly didn't see it coming and i don't think many people in south africa would have expected
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this from him. again, wa tocaution that i don't know what happened. it seems clear that this woman was shot in his house. it seems fairly clear that he did the shooting. what else was going on i have no idea at this point and i don't want to be someone who is defending oscar because i don't know what happened all i can say is honestly i didn't see malice from oscar. i didn't see him as a violent person i did see him as a man of action coiled and on a hair-trigger. and that has its own dangers. >> suarez: michael sokolove writes for the "new york times," profiled oscar pistorius for the magazine. thanks for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a 70-year-old love story told in letters from president lyndon johnson to the woman he wanted to marry.
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released today by the l.b.j. presidential library in austin, texas, the more than 90 letters showed the impatience of a man so taken by claudia alta "lady bird" taylor that he proposed the day after they met in september 1934. and just weeks later, he wrote: to which she replied: in audio recorded in 1978, lady bird johnson described her dilemma at the time. >> i was almost perfect willing to say let's be sure we get
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married in a year, but he would say that no, if you wait that long, if you don't love me enough to marry me now., you won't a year from now, it will be enough to keep me in a turmoil and make life unbearable for a long time and then well slip away some how. >> woodruff: johnson's persistence paid off, after a two-and-a-half month courtship, the couple wed in november 1934 and remained married for 39 years, until his death in 1973. for more on these letters as intimate portraits of a president and first lady, we turn to lyndon and lady bird johnson's granddaughter catherine robb and presidential historian michael beschloss. welcome to you both. catherine robb, to you first, you were just a toddler when your grandfather passed away so
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you didn't know him as i understand it but what did you grow up knowing, hearing, about the relationship between the two of them, their love story. >> well, you're right, i was only two and a half when he passed away and so didn't really know him but i fortunately got to know my grandmother very well and spent a lot of time with her especially in the last eight or nine yearsf h life and so i heard about their relationship from -- from her and, in fact, she and i -- she and i would go to dinner on tuesday nights. we had a standing tuesday night dinner date and one week we decided to go to driscoll. they had just reopened -- they opened a restaurant that was on the same spot where my grandmother and grandfather had their first date so we thought it would be fun to go there for dinner and reminisce so we went to dinner and i asked her to tell me about their first date and tell me about the young man that she m bk in the 30s and sort of the whole -- the whirlwind relationship and i
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have to tell you i was a shocked. i knew but when i heard again two and a half months i thought watt what in the world were you doing? you didn't know him. but knowing enough about him it sort of made sense and then reading letters you really see that. he's -- you know, pushing her, he thinks it should have happened yesterday and she's more calm, rational one saying just sort of hold on. >> what was your reaction when you read these letters? >> oh, they're just wonderful. i was talking to my mother about them and she said they're just so mushy. (laughter) that's sort of a great word. but i love reading them because i really see so much of both of them and they're a little surprising because i didn't know them at that age and you never think of your grandparents as being mushy, i guess, but i think you can really see both of their personalities in terms of
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my grandmother's adventurous spirit but also her calm influence and the more rational one and you can see my grandfather just wanting to have everything happen now and once he knew he wanted something to happen, he wanted it to happen yesterday and so you see that. but you also see they're very -- that sort of the really sweet relationship between them which was -- i thought was lovely and made me smile. >> woodruff: michael beschloss, what do these letters tell us about the relationship they went on to have for more than 30 years? >> from the beginning he's basically giving her what was called the johnson treatment, which was what he used to get alli and menrs like richard russell in the senate and sam rayburn in the house and get people to sport bills of hills. ten days after the beginning of this the relationship he writes to her and says "you mean everything to me." someone he's known for ten days. then 26 days after "i'm ready now for marriage, are you?" and then the eighth of november, that is ten-week courtship, the
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self-pity he's saying "i hoped i could find a woman who is as affectionate as i am." using all the trks he dealt in politics. >> woodruff: how did she deal with that pressure? what did you see coming across from lady bird? >> she is torn. here is an extremely elegant deliberate woman who likes to do things in her own time, who is very stately. >> woodruff: even at the age of 21. >> even at the age 2061. and he's rushing at her like a freight train and she's torn. finally he says "we either get married oar we never will." the next day they michael, how d you describe their relationship? their marriage. >> listen don johnson, it would have been impossible for him to have that career in politics if it were not for lady bird. from the very beginning she was his partner and a hugely good judge of people. she stabilized him. she once told me he always had these ups and downs who felt she had to pull him up when he was down and calm him down when he was too excited.
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>> woodruff: catherine robb, did you -- when you were reading these letters did you think these were the kind of things your generation or your children's generation cod he tay? >> well, i would hope in terms of the affection they showed each other and the openness they had what i think we won't have those beautiful six and seven-page letters. and we'll have text or remembrances of phone conversations or something else. but certainly reading them i thought gosh those are the kind of letters other than them being too pushy in terms of i don't know why you haven't married me yet but other than that i thought these are wonderful. that's exactly sort of thing we all uld like t receive. just laying it out there and suppressing your love. also just sharing those experiences. you get to see so much of them
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through these letters and that was a really important of the growth of their relationship. so i want everyone i know to get something like that. >> that's right and catherine mentioned something very important and that is think what we historians missed by the fact that we're going to have to write about the period we're living in now without these letters. if you knew nothing about the relationship between.b.j. and lady bird and the only thing you read was these letters you'd have an enormously good sense of what happened. >> just quickly, michael beschloss, letters after they were married. >> letters after they were mare weed we see them. l.b.j. was more busy. some of the most revealing things were -- he taped lady bird without her knowledge during the presidency on the telephone, which i would not recommend for any anybody but she took with good humor. they had this layered relationship. she was a very strong woman. >> woodruff: are so delighted to have both of you set on this valentine's day.
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michael beschloss and catherine rob, the granddaughter of president lyndon johnson and lady bird johnson. thank you both. >> thanks, judy, thank you. >> woodruff: in keeping with the romantic holiday theme, we look at online dating sites. can the perfect algorithm lead to love? here's our political editor christina bellantoni asks our daily download team, that's on our home page. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: american and u.s. airways announced plans to merge and create the world's largest airline, if regulators and a bankruptcy judge approve. and senate republicans blocked a vote on the nomination of chuck hagel to be secretary of defense. and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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